Selling to “The Gap”

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Existing Situation and Desired Outcomes Documents

As Sales professionals and Senior Executives we are always looking for ways to differentiate ourselves from the competition.  One of those ways is to utilize Existing Situation/Desired Outcomes Documents or Discovery Agreements.  They are tremendous trust and credibility builders, and the serve as a road map to supporting the needs and requirements of the potential buyers.

By employing good discovery skills and listening skills you can gain a complete understanding of the buyer’s existing situation and their desired business outcome.  The difference between the prospect’s existing situation and desired outcome is called “The Gap”, and if we can come up with a solution that addresses the prospect’s Gap, then we have an excellent chance of winning their business.  If we can not identify a “Gap” that we can address with our solution, then it may be time to move on to another prospect.

Why Discovery Documents are a Key Differentiator?

  • They are a great credibility and trust building tool between you and the prospect
  • A great internal and external negotiations tool
  • An excellent internal and external selling tool
  • A way to determine what you do know and don’t know about the clients’ situation
  • A way to determine where you are in the sales process
  • A client interest and commitment barometer
  • A living document that you can update during the entire sales process
  • A consensus building and information sharing tool
  • An integral part of you sales presentation
  • A powerful closing tool

How Do You Create An Effective Discovery Document?

You will want to capture the following;

  1. Company Overview
    • Company description
    • Type of business
  2. Existing Situation
    • What they currently have
    • What they are currently doing
    • The way they are doing it
  3. Desired Situation
    • What they would like to have
    • How they would like to do it
    • The desired outcomes and benefits
  4. Outline Your Next Steps with the Client
  5. Set a Discover Review/Validation Meeting

What Are the Keys to an Effective Discovery Agreement?

  • The key to the discovery tool is to capture the clients’ existing situation and to capture their desired outcome, in their own words.
  • Do not elaborate or make assumptions
  • Capture all the relevant customer information in bullets points
  • Use action words to describe the desired outcomes like: (improve, increase, create or reduce)
  • Share the discovery agreement with the clients and request that they validate, correct or add anything to it that you may have missed.

Try this sales discovery tool and it will win you more deals!

There is nothing like hearing from a new client that you won because you were the only person who really understood what was important to help them.  The key to success is listening!

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